Give a Little, Get a Little

Sandy credited her superb organization skills for the planning of her wedding to her longtime boyfriend, Dan.

With her wedding binder in hand, she had everything from the flowers and banquet hall labeled, tabbed and categorized to tackle any question or mishap that would arise.

Dan went along with all the planning and decisions with complete agreement due to some sage fatherly advice.

“The girls always care about the wedding more. So just act interested and agree to everything. You better learn now—happy wife, happy life,” his father said.

Everything was running smoothly and a week before the wedding, she held a family meeting to go over the details of the wedding.

Sandy proudly ran the meeting with the efficiency of a corporate board presentation with handouts for everyone and a PowerPoint presentation of timelines, table assignments and room layout. But she wasn’t 5 minutes in before the first objections arose.

“Why are the parents seated at the bridal table? That’s only for the bridal party,” Dan’s mother said with stern disagreement.

Before Sandy could answer, her mother countered.

“The parents are part of the bridal party. They are in the processional and should be seated at the front,” Sandy’s mother explained.

“That’s not how it’s done,” Dan’s mother folded her arms in a huff. 

“After all, we’re paying for it, we belong at the head table,” Sandy’s mother folded her arms and glared at Dan’s mother.

“Oh, is that why my family has their tables by the kitchen and on the dance floor?” Dan’s mother strongly accused.

Sandy didn’t know what to do. Changing everything at this point would be difficult. She shot Dan a panicked look, as if asking him what to do. He nodded his head and smiled, so she ignored the quibbling mothers and continued. This was their wedding and she wasn’t going to change things.

As the wedding day approached, she emailed everyone in the bridal party, the caterer, the driver, the florist, the photographer and the DJ company detailed itineraries and lists of duties to ensure everything would go off like clockwork. She thought meticulous planning would lead to no mistakes and nothing would go wrong.

At the wedding rehearsal, the first mistake happened. Different candelabras were at the church and there weren’t enough candles. But Sandy had a backup plan and had more candles at home for the next morning.

“Crisis averted,” she sighed in relief.

On the morning of the wedding, the temperature rose to 92 degrees. Sandy smiled as she heard the weather.

“Good thing I insisted on an indoor air-conditioned banquet hall and church.”

But when the bridal SUV broke down and instead they drove up with an open air trolley, decorated for the wedding, Sandy took a deep breath.

“No problem.” She said and texted a friend to bring a few cases of cold drinks on ice for the bridal party. “Crisis averted.”

Things were back on track. They successfully got to the church and met the photographer. Sandy gasped when she saw him. He was nineteen years old, the son of the photographer she met with.

“I have your list of every shot you wanted and will follow your directions, exactly. I know I’m young, but I grew up in this business and I promise you’ll be pleased,” he said.

Sandy was taken aback, but his cooperative nature and adherence to her lists made her a little more comfortable, so she took a deep breath and moved on.

It was time to go down the aisle. Standing in a long line behind her bridesmaids, she looked down as she approached the door. The white runner was not down the aisle.

Sandy was annoyed.

“Those dingus friends of Dan’s were supposed to put the white runner down,” she said to herself.

She took a deep breath and sighed. It would be fine, she thought.

After a beautiful ceremony, the wedding party gathered in the vestibule to receive the guests as they exited. But soon Sandy noticed no one was coming to the end of the line, where she was. She looked around perplexed when her eyes finally fixed on the problem. Dan’s mother was at the head of the line talking at great length to each person and holding up the endless cue of people.

“Who put her at the front of the line? This is going to take forever. Do something!” she told Dan.

Dan just shrugged.  Sandy was frustrated, but what could she do. So, she rolled her eyes, sighed a lot and took a breath.

“Whatever,” she said.

A few hours and a few glasses of champagne later, a more relaxed Sandy and Dan were being announced into the reception banquet room. When Sandy entered and heard a crackling voice, she immediately turned her head to the DJ and was shocked. Instead of the vibrant young DJ they hired, a thin, pasty old, gray-haired, tales from the crypt, DJ was standing there holding the microphone.

Keeping in the character of the happy bride, Sandy pasted on a smile and walked to head table, waving to her cheering guests.  A few minutes later, the DJ came up to her.

“I’m sorry, but Jerry, the DJ you hired got sick and I’m his last-minute replacement. But don’t worry, I have your complete instructions and song list and will stick to it like glue to ensure your party is wonderful,” he said with a reassuring smile.

Sandy held her breath and nodded. It would be fine, she told herself.

After dinner, it was going all right. Despite the litany of old man DJ jokes from their friends, their exuberance and the DJ’s attention to the list made the party soar. Sandy was finally enjoying her reception.

“See I told you everything would work out,” Dan smiled.

Then a loud pulsating blare overtook the music and everyone froze.

“Everyone please evacuate the hall quickly and safely. We have a fire alarm,” a man’s voice yelled.

Looking at each other with concern, the guests filed out of the reception into the dimly lit parking lot waiting in hushed worry. It was a warm summer night, but luckily the bare arms of some of the girls were aided by the few gentleman who still had their suitcoats on.

Sandy was numb. Dan had his arms around her while they awaited the news. Was there a fire?

As fire engine pulled into the parking lot, everyone’s fears worsened.

“It’s going to be fine, honey,” Dan told Sandy as she stood silently watching the reception hall with laser focus.

Twenty-five minutes after the fire siren sounded, the fire fighters came out.

“All clear. Someone just pulled the fire alarm for a joke,” they announced.

Astonished, the crowd was mum when Sandy let out a big boisterous laugh…and kept laughing.

Dan’s eyes opened wide as he glared at her, stunned at her response.

“Are you ok honey?”

“Yes I am. It’s just too ridiculous to believe. I’d like to wring the neck of whoever thought that was funny, but what can you do. If you try to control everything, you don’t enjoy anything,” she laughed.

“You should have your picture taken with the fire fighters,” someone shouted.

“That’s a great idea,” Sandy laughed. “Not that we’ll ever forget this, but we need evidence so people will believe us.”

(c) Suzanne Rudd Hamilton 2022

Published by suzanneruddhamilton

I write anything from novels and children's books to plays to relate and retell everyday life experiences in a fun-filled read with heart, hope and humor. A former journalist and real estate marketing expert, I am a transplant from Chicago, now happily living in southwest Florida to keep warm and sunny all year round. You can find me at www.suzanneruddhamilton.com

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